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Syrian deputy PM says Geneva peace conference planned Nov. 23-24

Photo Archive: Syrian army troops

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said on Thursday a long-delayed international conference aimed at bringing the Syrian government and opposition together to seek an end to the civil war is scheduled for Nov. 23-24.

Jamil named the dates when asked at a news conference in Moscow whether plans for the “Geneva 2” conference, which Russia and the United States have been trying to organise since May, had been pushed back from mid-November.

Asked to confirm the dates, he told Reuters: “Yes, this is what (U.N. Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon is saying, not me.”

The deal reached last month for Syria to scrap its chemical weapons arsenal rekindled efforts to convene the conference, but the U.N. peace envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has said it was not certain that peace talks will take place in mid-November as planned.

Jamil has made several visits to Russia during the conflict, that has killed more than 120,000 people since it began with pro-democracy protests in March 2011. He said the conference was needed because “everyone is at a dead-end – a military and political dead-end.

“Geneva is a way out for everyone: the Americans, Russia, the Syrian regime and the opposition. Whoever realises this first will benefit. Whoever does not realise it will find himself overboard, outside the political process.”

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